A King in Chains
“But if men are bound in chains, held fast by cords of affliction,” Elihu says, as he continues to describe another aspect of the Lord’s instruction through suffering, “He tells them what they have done.” The Lord who is “mighty in strength of heart” flashes His light on the service of the past. He tenderly shows where His servant has “transgressed,” in moving without His commands, or “behaved arrogantly,” in criticism, or harsh judgment of others; in reliance on his own capabilities; in assurance of his own knowledge, or in thinking himself indispensable to God. So the Lord “opens the ear” of His children to instruction, and they are taught by Him.
How He Delivers
God simply withdraws His servants from their work in order to sift and to test them. “He shows . . . that they have acted arrogantly . . . He makes them listen to correction and commands them to return to Him and repent.” He convicts only so that He can deliver. He rebukes to bless. He wounds in order to heal. (Thank you, Lord. Now I know what you have been doing with me the past several years.)
The Lord will reveal sin in its true light. Any shade of pride is called iniquity, and every transgression needs a “return” to God for His pardon and cleansing, just like you did the very first time you sought Him.
If we choose not to listen, even when the Lord has opened the ear, and his instruction given, the Lord has to use the sword in still sharper dealing. If His children still fail to listen to Him, the end must be a loss of life “saved even as by fire.
Elihu tries to comfort Job by reminding him that the godless in heart do not cry to God for help when they are bound with cords of affliction. They are more often angry and harbor resentment, so the fact that he cries out to God proves that he knows where to turn in the time of trouble. “Job, don’t you realize that God delivers you in your suffering and speaks to you in your affliction?”
If you are interested, you can download the whole study of Job.
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